A recent law journal note summarized the justifications for regulating payday lending. The summary notes that while it is difficult to quantify the impact on specific consumers, there are external parties who are clearly affected by the decision of a borrower to get a payday loan. Most directly impacted are the holders of other low interest debt from the same borrower, which now is less likely to be paid off since the limited income is first used to pay the fee associated with the payday loan. The external costs of this product can be expanded to include the businesses that are not patronized by the cash-strapped payday customer to the children and family who are left with fewer resources than before the loan. The external costs alone, forced on people given no choice in the matter, may be enough justification for stronger regulation even assuming that the borrower him or herself understood the full implications of the decision to seek a payday loan.
To inquire about an advance on your paycheck, either talk to your boss directly or go to your human resources department. While ideally, your employer wouldn’t be too involved in your private life, it’s best to be prepared with an explanation as to what the money's for and why you need it so urgently. Otherwise, your boss is left to wonder if there’s an underlying personal issue that could someday impact your work performance, such as a gambling addiction.
There are many terms for this kind of credit — payday loans, cash advance loans, check advance loans, deferred deposit loans or post-dated check loans — which you can get from a variety of sources. Whether you walk into a payday lender’s store or apply online, the process is basically the same: You provide some personal and financial information, request a loan for a certain dollar amount (secured by check or bank account debit authorization), pay a fee for the loan and receive the cash or deposit into your bank account.
For instance, if a looming credit card or other loan payment is jeopardizing your ability to pay for basic expenses, see if you can work out a deal. “If you’re having trouble making your monthly payments, call your lender to ask for more time,” suggests Natasha Rachel Smith, consumer affairs expert at rebate website TopCashback. “You’d be surprised how willing they are to work with you on your payment schedule. … It pays to be transparent.”
For most people, a cash advance (also known as a payday advance) is something associated with a credit card or other line of credit. Many credit card companies make it easy for customers to receive cash advances nearby by using their credit card at a local ATM. The problem with such tactics is that the costs of the advance can add up quickly and you might not even realize what all those costs are. You'll likely pay an ATM fee charged by the bank that runs the machine, and you might also pay a fee to the credit card company for taking the advance, along with finance charges and interest if you don't pay the money back before your next billing cycle. Some credit card companies charge interest on cash advances that is higher than the interest charged on regular balances, which can make for surprising increases in your total balance.
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